Google’s sustainability features now include an EV buyer’s tool

It also has an expanded Flood Hub and home energy comparisons.


In the face of record heatwaves and dangerous flooding worldwide, we need all the help we can get to figure out the best environmental technology to buy without breaking the bank. To this end, Google has announced various new and expanded sustainability initiatives around EVs, home energy, city planning and safety.

For starters, Google is providing more insight into if an EV is right for you and, if so, which one. Across 21 countries, an updated Fuel Cost Calculator takes the guesswork out of how much money an EV could save you, estimating a particular model's annual charging cost versus a similar-sized car's gas expenses. Exclusively in the US, searches like "best electric cars" should now provide the option to compare aspects like range and price. You can also see which government incentives are available. Similarly, in the coming weeks, you should be able to explore how far an EV could take you along a specific route in the US based on elevation and charging stations. Google plans to bring the feature to Europe in early 2024.

Your home energy search is getting a similar upgrade. The next time you look for a heater or air conditioner, you should have the option to compare their energy efficiency and see which comes with financial incentives.

In the face of increased natural disasters, Google is expanding tools like its Flood Hub. This platform has been available in 80 countries but will now include over 800 riverside locations in the US and Canada. Google has also teamed up with the US Forest Service to use machine learning for a large-scale update to the organization's fire spread model — it helps train firefighters and plan difficult battles.

Google is further increasing its influence on urban planning decisions with a new Google Earth feature demonstrating the solar flux of each given building per year. At the same time, a Cool Roofs tool should soon be available in 15 cities globally that lays out which areas cool roof integration could be most beneficial.